From Google News
Hearsay bothers last juror to find Drew Peterson guilty
by Associated Press
JOLIET, Ill. The final juror to agree to convict Drew Peterson of murder in the death of his ex-wife says he "barely slept" one night during the proceedings because the same nagging questions kept popping into his head.
Even after joining fellow members of the panel by casting the last vote for guilty, Ron Supalo remains troubled by the prosecution's reliance on hearsay, statements not based on a witness' direct knowledge.
Peterson, the former suburban Chicago police officer, faces a maximum 60-year prison term after his first-degree murder conviction in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. It was the first case in Illinois history to permit the use of hearsay evidence, based on a 2008 state law specifically tailored to Peterson's case.
"I needed time to think it through," Supalo, a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, said in a telephone interview Friday evening.
Supalo said he believes the hearsay law might be unconstitutional, but he eventually realized his duty as a juror was only to assess the evidence, not the laws.
"We (the jurors) weren't the U.S. Supreme Court," he said. "Right or wrong, this was the hearsay law, and we had to use it in this case."
Other jurors acknowledged that comments Stacy Peterson, Peterson's fourth wife, made before her 2007 disappearance played the decisive role in convincing them to convict her husband of killing his ex-wife.
The prosecution's strategy grew largely from a lack of physical evidence collected in the case after investigators initially deemed Savio's 2004 death an accident. Prosecutors claimed the hearsay would allow Savio and Stacy Peterson who is presumed dead "to speak from their graves" through family and friends.
Jury foreman Eduardo Saldana, 22, said the women's comments were "extremely critical" in deliberations and in his decision to convict Peterson. He said he was one of four jurors who initially had reservations given a lack of physical evidence tying the former police officer to Savio's death. But Saldana said the more he thought about hearsay testimony from Stacy Peterson's pastor, the more compelling he found it.
But Supalo said he had some doubts about the credibility of Stacy Peterson's statements to the Rev. Neil Schori.
During the trial, Schori testified that Stacy Peterson told him weeks before she went missing that her husband got up from bed and left the house about the time of Savio's death and then returned to stuff women's clothing in their washing machine. Peterson also coached his wife for hours on how to lie to police, Schori told jurors.
"When it was the 11 for guilty and just me holding out, I told them, 'You all believe Schori's testimony is gospel because he is a man of God,'" Supalo said. "They said, 'It is.' And I said, 'No, it's not!'"
Supalo also said he had difficulty coming to terms with convicting someone based on what others claimed someone else said.
"I'm uncomfortable with the Illinois law that allowed hearsay," Supalo, who briefly studied law. "They made the law just for Drew Peterson applied it to him retroactively. If there was no hearsay in his case Drew Peterson goes free."
Defense lawyers have said the presentation of hearsay undercut Peterson's constitutional rights because he couldn't directly confront his accusers namely, his third and fourth wives.
They tried to discredit Stacy Peterson by having attorney Harry Smith testify that she asked him if she could squeeze more money out of Peterson in a divorce if she threatened to tell police he killed Savio. But Saldana and other jurors said Smith only ended up stressing that Stacy Peterson knew her husband had, in fact, murdered his ex-wife.
As he realized Smith was starting to hurt Peterson's case, the defense attorney questioning him, Joel Brodsky, began shouting at Smith, accusing him of lying.
Juror Teresa Mathews, 49, said Friday that Smith had nothing to gain by making up testimony.
"We believed he was a credible witness," she said.
Although thoughts about the evidence cost Supalo some sleep, by Thursday afternoon, just before the verdict was read in court to gasps and tears, he'd resolved several issues in his mind. Among them was accepting Schori's and Smith's testimony as credible, he said.
"It was the totality of the evidence that convinced me," he said.
Peterson is to be sentenced Nov. 26.
Neighbors found the 40-year-old's body in the bathtub of her suburban Chicago home a gash on the back of her head. Investigators initially thought she drowned after slipping in the tub, but reopened the case after Stacy Peterson disappeared.
Peterson also is a suspect in that case, and Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said Thursday that charges could be forthcoming.
Peterson's personality had seemed to loom large over the trial, at least to outsiders.
Before his 2009 arrest, the glib, cocky Peterson seemed to taunt authorities, joking on talk shows and even suggesting a "Win a Date With Drew" contest. His behavior inspired a TV movie starring Rob Lowe.
But jurors said Friday that Peterson's crude and unsavory reputation didn't factor into their deliberations.
Huntsville couple delivers Meals on Wheels to needy people for more than three decades
by Yvonne T. Betowt
-- Want to make Doris and Clyde Barclay laugh?
Tell them you are "too old" to do something.
The couple -- Doris just turned 85 and Clyde will be 95 Wednesday -- have been delivering Meals on Wheels more than 30 years once or twice a month to people in need.
"Most are younger than dad and many are younger than mom," said their older of two sons, John Barclay.
Doris said she and Clyde enjoy meeting the people they deliver meals to, mostly in Johnson Towers.
"We try to talk to them a little and we always take them a newspaper," said Doris.
In addition to their Meals on Wheels ministry, Doris still serves as a volunteer for the American Red Cross and was a volunteer election official for 30 years.
They have been active members at Trinity United Methodist Church since its founding in 1956. Doris served on the altar guild and worked in the nursery's toddler room for 50 years.
"I just enjoyed sitting in the floor playing with the children," said Doris, a petite grandmother of two boys and a girl.
Clyde is a charter member of the Golden K Kiwanis Club founded in 1987. He served in World War II with the U.S. Army in the European theater and retired from the U.S. Army Missile Command in 1981.
They are members of the Huntsville Botanical Garden, the Museum of Art, the Academy for Lifetime Learning and Senior Horizons.
Both are natives of Jackson County. Doris is from Woodville and Clyde grew up in Paint Rock Valley. A mutual friend introduced them. They fell in love and have been married 61 years. They still live in the same southeast Huntsville house they bought just before getting married Feb. 23, 1951. For many years, Clyde has sent Doris two dozen red roses on their anniversary.
When their sons -- John and Jerry -- were young and in Boy Scouts, Doris served as a den mother for five years and Clyde often accompanied their troops on outings and other activities.
Clyde continues to do most of the housework, said Doris, who considers raising their sons the couple's "greatest achievement."
As John, a pilot, and Jerry, an attorney, left the nest and Clyde retired, the couple began traveling. They have been to all 50 states and the Canadian Rockies. Once they were gone from home 32 days on a trip to Alaska and have driven coast to coast.
They stayed physically active through square dancing for many years and continue to walk every day, even though Doris broke her pelvis and Clyde broke his knee cap a few years back.
Two or three times a week, they meet for breakfast with friends from organizations where they have been involved over the years.
Unless something happens to change their mind or their health, the Barclays have no plans to retire from delivering Meals on Wheels.
"We'll just see what tomorrow brings," said Doris with a laugh.
Nashua PD awarded $52,000 grant to continue community policing
The local police department has been awarded a $52,000 grant to continue important community policing initiatives in the city, according to authorities.
by KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
NASHUA The local police department has been awarded a $52,000 grant to continue important community policing initiatives in the city, according to authorities.
On Thursday, the aldermanic Human Affairs Committee accepted and appropriated a 2012 Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $52,083 from the U.S. Department of Justice.
We are going to try to stretch out the funds, said Officer Jeff Connors of the Nashua Police Department, explaining it will be used for many programs.
The grant will allow the department's Citizen Police Academy to continue. Since its inception more than two decades ago, more than 900 residents have graduated from the academy.
The money will also allow the department to continue offering Rape, Aggression and Defense (RAD) classes for women, and provide extra detectives to perform additional sex offender compliance checks, according to Connors.
With any remaining funds, the department is hoping to upgrade some of its dive team equipment, and perhaps buy an in-cruiser video system, he said.
The amount of justice assistance grants have decreased in recent years, said Connors. But money remains available to continue worthwhile projects for police and local residents.
Alderman Diane Sheehan, Ward 3, praised the department for its RAD program and Citizen Police Academy, saying that she has heard good things about both endeavors.
The Human Affairs Committee also accepted a separate, $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for the Greater Nashua Mental Health Center's Safe Havens program, which provides supervised visitation and safe exchanges for children who are in the midst of custody arrangements with parents.
I support this. I think it is a good program, Sheehan said this week, adding it is beneficial to children caught in the middle of custody battles.
Her fellow alderman, June Caron, Ward 7, agreed. If it helps families stay connected through troubling times, the Safe Havens programs is a worthy cause, Caron said.
Norwich police seek feedback from public
by ADAM BENSON
The Norwich Police Department is asking city residents and business owners to critique its performance.
For the second year, the department is conducting a community policing survey. The results will help authorities generate targeted enforcement policies to try to reduce crime in historically troublesome areas.
The information provided by the survey will give our officers an opportunity to design programs based on the needs of respondents, and provides feedback necessary to ensure we are making an impact, Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro Sr. said.
The survey can be taken online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/norwichcommunitypolicing or can be completed at several locations around Norwich. including Otis Library and City Hall. It's also available at www.norwichct.org, the city's official website.
The survey asks users to rank areas where they perceive crime to be highest, how safe workers and residents feel in the city and whether the person responding to the survey belongs to a neighborhood watch group.
City leaders have aggressively pursued an improved community police policy during the past two years that has led to the addition of six officers and the installation of video cameras in the Greeneville section of the city.
There are also plans to erect surveillance cameras downtown, and officials are asking residents to approve a $33.4 million bond in November that would pay to build a new police headquarters in the former Sears building at 2-6 Cliff St.
Mayor Peter Nystrom said soliciting input from people who rely on the police daily is the best measuring stick officials have to determine future priorities for the department.
Whether you're a resident, property owner, business owner or employee, we want you to feel comfortable in Norwich, Nystrom said. It starts with this survey and continues with follow-up surveys to measure the impact of the investment.
From the White House
Coming Together to Remember September 11th
WASHINGTON, DCIn this week's address, President Obama marked the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks by remembering the innocent lives lost, and honoring the first responders and men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed to keep our country safe. In the difficult years following the attacks, the United States has come back stronger as a nation, decimated the leadership of al-Qaeda, ensured that Osama bin Laden will never attack America again, and strengthened our alliances across the world. Looking forward, we will continue to demonstrate that the legacy of 9/11 is that no adversary or act of terrorism can change who we are as Americans, and that we will always come together to preserve and protect the country we love.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
September 8, 2012
This week, we mark the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It's a time to remember the nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children we lost, and the families they left behind. It's a chance to honor the courage of the first responders who risked their lives on that day, and every day since. And it's an opportunity to give thanks for our men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed, sometimes far from home, to keep our country safe.
This anniversary is about them. It's also a time to reflect on just how far we've come as a nation these past eleven years.
On that clear September morning, as America watched the towers fall, and the Pentagon burn, and the wreckage smoldering in a Pennsylvania field, we were filled with questions. Where had the attacks come from, and how would America respond? Would they fundamentally weaken the country we love? Would they change who we are?
The last decade has been a difficult one, but together, we have answered those questions and come back stronger as a nation.
We took the fight to al Qaeda, decimated their leadership, and put them on a path to defeat. And thanks to the courage and skill of our intelligence personnel and armed forces, Osama bin Laden will never threaten America again.
Instead of pulling back from the world, we've strengthened our alliances while improving our security here at home. As Americans, we refuse to live in fear. Today, a new tower rises above the New York skyline. And our country is stronger, safer and more respected in the world.
Instead of turning on each other, we've resisted the temptation to give in to mistrust and suspicion. I have always said that America is at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates and we will never be at war with Islam or any other religion. We are the United States of America. Our freedom and diversity make us unique, and they will always be central to who we are as a nation.
Instead of changing who we are, the attacks have brought out the best in the American people. More than 5 million members of the 9/11 Generation have worn America's uniform over the past decade, and we've seen an outpouring of goodwill towards our military, veterans, and their families. Together, they've done everything we've asked of them. We've ended the war in Iraq and brought our troops home. We brought an end to the Taliban regime. We've trained Afghan Security Forces, and forged a partnership with a new Afghan Government. And by the end 2014, the transition in Afghanistan will be complete and our war there will be over.
And finally, instead of turning inward with grief, we've honored the memory of those we lost by giving back to our communities, serving those in need, and reaffirming the values at the heart of who we are as a people. That's why we mark September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Because we are one American family. And we look out for each other not just on the difficult days, but every day.
Eleven years later, that's the legacy of 9/11 the ability to say with confidence that no adversary and no act of terrorism can change who we are. We are Americans, and we will protect and preserve this country we love. On this solemn anniversary, let's remember those we lost, let us reaffirm the values they stood for, and let us keep moving forward as one nation and one people.